Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness [Clean] [Parental Advisory]

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Performer Notes
  • Smashing Pumpkins: Billy Corgan, James Iha, D'Arcy, Jimmy Chamberlin.
  • Additional personnel: Greg Leisz (pedal & lap steel guitars).
  • Producers: Flood, Alan Moulder, Billy Corgan.
  • Engineers include: Alan Moulder, Flood, Chris Shepard.
  • "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" won a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance. Smashing Pumpkins were nominated for five additional 1997 Grammys for MELLON COLLIE AND THE INFINITE SADNESS. The album was nominated for Album Of The Year and Best Alternative Music Performance; "1979" was nominated for Record Of The Year and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal; and the title track was nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
  • Recording information: Bugg Studios (03/1995-08/1995); Chicago recording Company (03/1995-08/1995); Pumpkinland (03/1995-08/1995); Sadlands (03/1995-08/1995); The Village Recorder (03/1995-08/1995).
  • Illustrator: John Craig .
  • Photographers: Andrea Giacobbe; Kevin Cummins.
  • For all the criticisms levied on head Pumpkin Billy Corgan, one thing he can't be accused of is being narrow in his artistic vision. On the breakthrough SIAMESE DREAM, he and co-producer Butch Vig built a landscape of layered, corrosive guitars that shimmered brighter with each additional glance. On MELLON COLLIE AND THE INFINITE SADNESS, Corgan turns his eye to the dreariness of modern existence and comes up with a broad alterna-rock opus that plays out like an offspring of Roger Waters and Kurt Cobain--verbose and angst-ridden, bleak in its view, cathartic in nature.
  • With its two distinctly titled song-cycles and overture-like title track, there is no doubt that MELLON COLLIE is meant to be approached as a concept album, and Corgan's lyrical musings only reiterate the point. The songs explore alienation in the physical and spiritual worlds, generally concluding that it can seldom be overcome. Only the early "Tonight, Tonight" offers a glimmer of hope ("believe that life can change, that you're not stuck in vain"), on the wings of a soaring, string-laden production. Far more constant are spiritually depleting images of "the world [as a] vampire, sent to drain" ("Bullet With Butterfly Wings"), of love as "suicide" ("Bodies'") and of heaven's unresponsiveness ("Zero").
  • The constant din of guitars that illuminated GISH and SIAMESE DREAM has been replaced with a varied sonic palette that reflects MELLON COLLIE's operatic nature. Piano interludes connect the opening title track and the closing "Farewell And Goodnight"; harps, harpsichords and other heavenly sounds trim "Cupid De Locke"; synthetic, Cars-like drums and a general faux-New Wave feel spur on "1979"; and "X.Y.U." explodes with distorted guitar wallops and yelped vocals that scream post-modern confusion. The 28 tracks are as motley and disconcerting as the world they describe, and MELLON COLLIE is a dispiriting glimpse from the eyes of a man whose last vestiges of hope seem lost.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, pp.62-62) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."

Rolling Stone (1/25/96, p.37 & p.41) - Voted Best Album in the 1996 Readers' Poll. Ranked #5 in the 1996 Critics' Poll.

Rolling Stone (11/30/95, p.66) - 3 Stars - Good - "...Although MELLON COLLIE clocks in at more than two hours, it's one of the rare epic rock releases whose bulk is justified in the grooves...even more impressive when you consider that Corgan single-handedly wrote 26 of the songs..."

Spin (12/95, p.117) - 8 - Very Good - "...Billy Corgan has built the asteroid of his that rejects standard song shapes in favor of a more ambient, uncontainable sonic narrative....all very lush....[Corgan] sings for the awkward adolescent in all of us, the mad little creature wanting to conquer, destroy, and embrace life all at once..."

Entertainment Weekly (Spring 2000, p.166) - Ranked #7 in EW's "Top 10 albums of the '90s"

Entertainment Weekly (12/29/95-1/5/96, p.131) - Ranked #2 on EW's Top 10 Albums Of 1995.

Entertainment Weekly (10/27/95, pp.88-90) - "...A sprawling sonic carpet that never stops unfurling, its 28 songs careen from ravaged, apocalypse-now metal assaults to glucose-coated ballads. Corgan has stripped away the lacquered sheen of SIAMESE DREAM and replaced it with wild-eyed eclecticism that works..." - Rating: A

Q (10/01, p.81) - Ranked #19 in Q's "Best 50 Albums of Q's Lifetime"

Q (2/96, p.67) - Included in Q's 50 Best Albums of 1995.

Q (12/95, p.150) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...a mammoth, put-up-or-shut-up confirmation of four people's musicial ability, one man's floodgate songwriting and his penchant for head-in-the-clouds preposterousness..."

Musician (1/96, p.85) - "...stridently all over the place...laughably ambitious, and yet...satisfying throughout....a wealth of distinctly original material....songs that will satisfy fans of SIAMESE DREAM...songs that will satisfy punk rock fans...songs of a new mythology..."

Village Voice (2/20/96) - Ranked #14 in Village Voice's 1995 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.

New York Times (Publisher) (1/6/96, p.C16) - Included on Neil Strauss' list of the Top 10 Albums of `95 - "...a well-crafted, bottom-heavy double album that never lets up..."

NME (Magazine) (12/23-30/95, pp.22-23) - Ranked #38 in NME's `Top 50 Albums Of The Year' for 1995.

NME (Magazine) (10/21/95, p.50) - 8 (out of 10) - "...his magnum opus, a ludicrous, brilliant, bloated blunderbuss of should be grateful that amid the acres of safe, generic stodge of American alternative rock, someone has this kind of rampant, scattershot ambition..."
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